April 6 (UPI) -- Scientists have induced magnetism in 2D platinum using a paramagnetic ionic liquid.
Platinum is a superb conductor but features no magnetic properties. But using an electric field created by the paramagnetic ionic liquid, scientists produced a ferromagnetic state on the surface of the platinum sheet.
"You can tune magnets electrically by changing the number of carriers inside, which is one of the key ideas in spintronics. But so far, no one could generate magnets like that," Justin Ye, a material scientist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, said in a news release.
Ionic liquids are salts in liquid form, or a salt solution. They are good conductors of electricity.
"The key, here, is that we used a paramagnetic ionic liquid, a new type of ionic liquid we synthesized ourselves," Ye said.
When scientists gated an electric field through the ionic liquid, ions flooded the surface of the 2D platinum. The ions carried both an electric charge and magnetic moment, creating a layer of magnetic platinum measuring just an atom thick.
Researchers described the breakthrough in the journal Science Advances.
"We were able to show that this is really a 2D magnet, and the magnetic state can extend to the room temperature," said Ye. "It is amazing that we could still add new properties to such a well-known material."
Scientists have successfully created a variety of 2D magnets out of new materials, but the majority are made from insulators and work only at low temperatures. Because platinum is a conductor, the new magnet can be easily turned on and off, offering potential applications in spintronics, a type of electronics used to make hard drives and other kinds of solid state technologies.